Sixteen hundred years ago, Augustine imagined that God created time. What was God doing before He made time? According to Augustine, there was no then when there was no time! For a thousand years Europeans learned to think of God and time with Augustine’s ideas. It is not surprising that westerners use tensed verbs as a co-ordinate system for everything that happens.
The ancient Jews had a tenseless language. Their language was not built around the concept of time nor did they have a specific word for it.
Three thousand years ago, David explained to Jonathon that tomorrow is the new moon and Saul expects me to come to the monthly meeting. People in that era kept track of lunar phases and used them as one of several parallel calendars. However, people who think with a non tensed language do not measure time or even imagine that it exists. Their calendars were dynamic, referenced to the cycles of the Sun and Moon and the patterns in nature regulated by those cycles.
The ancients thought the planets were much closer in antiquity. The ancients recorded that the planets sometimes passed so close that mountains rose up and coastal cities flooded. They mentioned a day when the Sun careened to the north and then swung south. Every ancient society told stories of a the shattering of a great watery planet in a collision. The earliest astronomical diary lists the Venusian rise and set dates during the 21 years of king Ammizaduga. According to the clay tablets, Venus spent twice as many days behind the Sun as it does today. It spent half as much of the difference in the morning and evening phases as it does today. That would happen if the solar system was smaller during the reign of Ammizaduga. The Bible also mentions close passages and the shattering of a planet using similar language as the surrounding nations.
A third aspect of tenseless time is that days and years continually shorten (Genesis 47:9). Hesiod claimed the first people were the golden race on whom miserable old age did not rest. Their arms and legs did not fail until they died in their sleep. Children of the silver race played at their mother’s knee for a hundred years. Hesiod moaned that he was part of the iron generation who never stopped laboring by day and dying by night. He thought this degeneration would continue until children are born with grey temples. People who think like that – cannot imagine linear time.
The Bible agrees with this ancient notion of degenerating ages. Job, in chapter 14, describes several geological markers that passed during the few days of their lives. His book mentions huge dinosaurs lounging in the Jordan river. One of Job’s markers for the brevity of life is that the sea (Hebrew word for west) dried. Indeed, drill cores from the deepest parts of the Mediterranean reveal thick layers of plankton alternating with layers of salt and gypsum. Evidently the Mediterranean dried repeatedly. According to scientists, the last Mediterranean drying occurred five million years ago. Job may have lived about 4500 years ago, since he was a great grandson of Noah. Job mentions how their faces changed (doubled) before they died. The skull is the only part of our skeleton that keeps growing as we age. If we lived for geological ages, we would grow Neanderthal brows. Neanderthal children had modern-looking skulls. The worn enamel on their baby teeth, suggests that they were ancient, yet still infants.
The most powerful evidence for tenseless time is the visible way orbits keep on accelerating throughout cosmic history. We can see the past at many ranges with telescopes. We observe how galaxies grew from globs of formless matter that shone at tiny fractions of the frequencies of modern atoms. We observe how streams of stars continue to emerge from point sources as the stars continued to accelerate outwards.
The western notion of an actual time, something that can be measured with precision, is clearly denied by the way the atomic clocks and the inertial ones continue to accelerate as billions of galaxies grew into huge, growth spirals. What is visible only fits the literal biblical account of creation and natural history. It clearly does not fit the assumption of scientists, that the properties of matter (and clocks) are fixed.
How great will be the triumph of the word of God over western science. What glory He will get when He proves that no one can come to him through logical and reason, only as a sinner who trusts Him alone for salvation.
The depiction of a planet collision, which is mentioned four times in the Old Testament, is in the public domain since it comes from NASA.
Please click on the below links to read the Bible verses that refer to a plant shattering. The word Rahab meant might or stormy one. The expressions used by the biblical authors to describe the planet shattering are similar to those used by the Canaanites. If a great watery planet was shattered at close range, each broken piece would have a vapor tail, looking like a multi-headed sea serpent to the seafaring Canaanites. Asteroids and comets, contain rocks with crystals that formed slowly under volcanic conditions and rocks that formed slowly in warm water (cubanite). These are evidences that a great watery planet really was shattered and our ancestors a few thousand years ago witnessed it.
Psalm 89:9 – 11
Job 26:11 – 14